Bidvest first-half profit up

South African industrial conglomerate Bidvest booked a 9,1% rise in half-year profit as solid demand from Asia offset a stronger rand and lower sales from its European business.

Bidvest, whose businesses include auto retailing, shipping and food distribution, said on Monday headline earnings per share totalled 539,8 cents in the six months to end-December compared with 495 cents a year earlier.

Headline EPS is the main profit measure in South Africa and it strips out certain one-off items.

Bidvest said sales rose 4,2% to R58,5-billion thanks to stronger demand for new vehicles at home and rising demand for catering services in Asia.

The company has been helped by exposure to fast-growing markets such as Asia, which have largely escaped the worst of the global downturn.

Bidvest, which makes more than a quarter of its sales overseas, said its European operations would be under pressure for the rest of the year. — Reuters

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